Art has been an inseparable part of human culture ever since the dawn of civilisation. And India is a country with rich cultural and archaeological heritage. Indian Kings were known for their contribution towards the various forms of art. Museums around the country house paintings that were painted centuries ago and are of great historical and cultural value. And if you were to look at them today, they would seem as if they were painted only yesterday. But, over time, these beautiful remnants of our cultural past suffer from damage and require restoration. These ancient artefacts and paintings are maintained and are given a new life by art conservators and art restoration experts.
Interested in taking up art conservation as a field of study? Let’s find out which are the top Art restoration courses on offer in India and how can theyhelp you become a qualified Art Conservationist.
Art restoration is the process through which trained professionals clean, repair and restore a damaged artwork. These works of art could include anything from paintings to sculptures to even manuscripts. It mainly focuses on restoring the art's original essence and makes it look less worn out over time.
There is lack of good art restorers in the country. Art restoration and conservation is not an easy job and one needs proper training to carry it out efficiently. Moreover, the Indian art market has seen an upswing in the recent years, opening up several new and lucrative opportunities for the students. It is also not a very popular field, which means that the competition when it comes to getting a job as an art conservationist is not as high as compared to some of the other mainstream careers. Therefore, for people who are genuinely interested in preserving the ancient cultural heritage of the country can look forward to studying Art Restoration and build a bright career in this domain.
Art restoration and conservation field is still in its nascent phase in India. But, still there are many higher education institutes that provide specialized courses and training in FRESCO. So, let’s find out the popular art restoration courses available in India.
• Certificate Level
o Leon Levy Foundation Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagpur - Courses cover various investigative measures for conservation and equip the conservators with the knowledge and the tools for undertaking a wide range of conservation activities and assessments. The course dates usually fall in the months of January to April.
o National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property –Conservation of Cultural Property (6 Months course, application deadlines 7th May, 2018)
• Post-Graduate Level
o National Museum Institute (Deemed University, New Delhi): M.A. Conservation
o Delhi Institute of Heritage Resources and Management, Delhi (Affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University):Master in Conservation, Preservation and Heritage Management
o Uttakal University of Culture, Orissa: M.A. in Cultural Heritage and Conservation
o National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology (NMIHACM):M.A. in Conservation
• Post-Graduate Level Diploma -
o Karnatak University Dharwad in collaboration with Regional Conservation Laboratory, Mysore:P. G. Diploma in Conservation and Heritage Management
o ChhatrapatiShivajiMaharajVastuSangrahalaya, Mumbai:Post Graduate Diploma in Museology and Conservation
• Doctorate Level
o National Museum Institute:Ph.D (Conservation)
Apart from the professional courses mentioned above, there are several short-term specialized courses offered by Art institutes across India. Key among them include:
• National Museum, New Delhi
o 3 Months short-term course announced from time to time
• National Archives of India
o Care and Conservation of Books, Records and Manuscripts - 8 Weeks Course (Conducted in July-August, November-December)
o Servicing and Repair of Records:6 weeks course (Conducted in May-June, September-October)
• Indian Council of Conservation Institutes (ICCI), INTACH
o Workshops: Announced by INTACH from time to time
To work in the field of art restoration the first and the foremost requirement is for the student to be interested in history, culture and heritage. Secondly, it would be helpful if the candidate possesses a keen eye for observation, eye for detail, aesthetic appreciation, patience, a steady hand, willingness to work long and strenuous hours, respect for the artists and a scientific outlook.
He must also have a good knowledge of various art forms, artists and the prominent schools of art. An innovative mind and the ability to come up with creative solutions also would help them go a long way in their career.
Most of the art restoration work in India happens either at the National Museum Centres or at the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Art Conservation Centre. Apart from that some of the top institutions that offer art restoration courses are -
National Museum, New Delhi
University of Mysore, Crawford Hall, Mysore
University of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh
To enrolin a course in art restoration one needs to have -
ABachelor's Degree- with a specialisation in subjects like archaeology, ancient and medieval history, world history, studio art, fine art, art history etc.
Also, score or percentage is a must to get into a prominent institution.
Internship Experience: Relevant internships and field experience during the undergraduate study will have an added benefit.
Your career in the field will most probably start as an apprentice under a prominent restorer. There is a lot to learn in this field, especially practical field learning. You need to have relevant experience, practical training and knowledge to build your reputation as a credible art restorer.
Some popular career prospects for art restorers include:
Restoration work on monuments and other historical places with Archaeological Survey of India
Work at The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage(INTACH, New Delhi) - it offers conservation services to private collectors and institutions
Work National Museum Centres - they house government art collections and take care of both their own artworks and sometimes of other state museums too.
Some art restorers start their own business too
Become a teacher - you can teach journalism, art, archaeology, art dealings and other subjects to students.
So there you have it! If you appreciate art and have an innate desire to restore ancient works of art to their pristine glory, a career as an art restorer just might be your calling.